Renting is growing twice as fast as home ownership, census reveals

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The number of households who rent their homes has grown twice as fast as the number of those who own, census data has revealed.

Statistics Canada revealed Wednesday that the number of households who rent their homes grew by more than 21 per cent between 2011 and 2021. By contrast, the number of households that own their homes grew by just eight per cent over the same period.

Although the gap is narrowing, owners still outnumber those who rent by a significant margin. More than 10 million households owned their home last year — about twice as many as the five million who rent.

All in all, Canadians were less likely to own their own home than they were in 2011.

The shift away from home ownership is especially pronounced among the generation that is typically most likely to want to buy: young adults.

In 2011, about 44 per cent of those in the age 25-29 cohort owned their home. By 2021, that percentage had fallen to 36.5 per cent.

The drop-off for those in the next age group was almost as pronounced: from 59.2 per cent for those between the ages of 30 and 34, to 52.3 per cent.

Overall, there was a clear demographic gap between those who own and those who rent. Baby boomers — which the data agency defines as anyone 56 to 75 years old in 2021 — made up 41.3 per cent of all homeowners in Canada.

Meanwhile millennials — between 25 and 40 years old in 2021 — made up 32.6 per cent of all renters.

While both owning and renting come with a cost, those who own their home have been lucky enough to offset those costs by way of a significant increase in the value of their homes. That isn’t the case for anyone who rents.

Worse still for renters, the average cost of keeping a roof over their head has increased by more than what those who own have experienced. The average cost for shelter among renters grew by 17.6 per cent in the past five years, from $910 a month, on average, in 2016, to $1,070 in 2021.

That’s roughly twice as large as the 9.7 per cent increase borne by owners, whose average monthly cost went from $1,130 in 2016, to $1,240 last year.



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